Boise schools expand AVID college prep program

Boise schools expand AVID college prep program

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 5:23 PM

BOISE -- A program in Boise schools is spreading, and providing students with a better chance at graduating and going on to college.

It's called AVID, and stands for advancement via individual determination. Students enrolled in the program have a history of higher grades and higher graduation rates.

This year, there are more than a thousand middle and high school students enrolled in AVID.

AVID began in Boise back in 2006 at Fairmont Middle School, and has grown ever since. New for 2013, it's in every junior high and high school in the district.

AN EXAMPLE OF AVID

At first glance, the AVID class at Borah High, seems like any other class. However, the program is helping students like junior Jack Ray, who benefit from the extra direction.

"Really my whole life I was kind of a below average student, I didn't think school was the foremost thing I needed to be concentrating on," Ray said.

AVID gives students like Ray a chance for more challenges, and more success.

"As soon as I joined the AVID program my grades boosted up, I was maintaining above a 3.5, my first year in AVID, the AVID program really saved my academic career," says Ray.

AVID targets kids not typically college bound or focused on accelerated classes. AVID Borah Area Director Stacie Currie says the group is called "the forgotten middle."

"We're looking at students we call the forgotten middle, who we know as educators can be successful in a rigorous curriculum, but for some reason they haven't had those opportunities," Currie said.

WHAT DOES AVID TEACH, AND HOW IS IT MEASURED?

Organizers say the program offers students one class a year to focus on skills for the future like note taking and organization. It also forces kids into more challenging courses. Teachers say it gives students confidence.

"You see the students change, they blossom, and become the people they want to be," says teacher Tony Quilici.

Administrators say the higher graduation rates and college acceptance proves the program works.

"My overall goal would be for people to take a closer look at this as a reform option for the state of Idaho, it's got a proven track record and it prepares students for college," says Currie.

Jack Ray says the program is an opportunity that's changed his future.

"The AVID program is like the reason why I'm going to be successful," says Ray.

Program leaders tell us 94% of AVID's first graduating class went on to college.

HOW DO YOU GET IN?

Students have to write an essay and have an interview to apply to get into the AVID program.

As for the cost, administrators say it's minimal, since teachers just receive extra training, and add one class to their schedules.

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